A three-day itinerary that takes in the best of Orange
Escape to the country for a long weekend of invigorating weather, belly-warming food and wine, and plenty to see and do. Here’s your guide to a seasonal Orange outing.
Crisp blue skies, lovely landscapes, vineyards turning golden on hillsides and some of the most flamboyant foliage in NSW are reasons enough to visit Orange in the cooler months. Add great food, cool climate wines and an historic town centre full of country charm, and you have every reason to enjoy a getaway – and crackling fire.
Admire some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia
Sample cool climate wines from a vibrant boutique wine region
Tuck into the region’s seasonal produce in cosy restaurants
Explore history and architectural heritage
Get out on bracing walks amid beautiful subalpine landscapes
While you could leave Sydney after breakfast and be in Orange for lunch, the route across the Blue Mountains and through Bathurst invites a slow approach for those who appreciate World Heritage views or country towns. When you arrive, head to the striking Byng Street Boutique Hotel, which brings designer style to heritage-heavy Orange. It’s a 5min walk to dinner at local favourite Lolli Redini, which blends Italian boldness and French technique in autumnal dishes such as cheese soufflé, roast pumpkin or venison loin.
Time to soak in a little country scenery. At 1,395m, Mt Canobolas has subalpine landscapes and vegetation, not something most Australians encounter every day. You might see wombat trails in the early-morning frost. Walk the short but scenic Summits Walking Track, which connects to longer walks if you’re feeling particularly energetic.
Mt Canobolas’ volcanic soils allow grapes to thrive, and you’ll find several cellar doors with gorgeous views hunkered at its foot. Try Rowlee Wines for its small-batch sustainable wines, De Salis Wines for classical French varietals, and Cargo Road Wines for big reds that are perfect for the winter months. Remember though, cellar door visits will need to be booked in advance. Afterwards, call in to Small Acres Cyder to discover how traditional cider is made. No better time to be here than apple-harvest season.
If you’re here during the 10-day Orange F.O.O.D. Week in April, be sure to check special events at both vineyards and restaurants in town.
Aim for lunch at Sister’s Rock Restaurant among pinot noir-producing vines at Borrodell Estate. Views over the rolling valley and vineyards are delightful, and the menu features estate-grown cherries, plums and truffles.
Take an afternoon drive through quintessential country-Australian landscapes. You could head 20km northeast to Ophir, where the NSW gold rush began in 1851, or west to Verandah Cave, where a walking track will lead you to pools sheltered by limestone overhangs – and the chance to spot a platypus.
Alternatively, hit the course at the championship 18-hole Duntryleague Golf Club, where the trees are a magnificent multi-coloured treat at this time of year.
With that bracing autumn chill in the evening air, get cosy over a hearty local shiraz at The Arthouse Bar before heading into The Schoolhouse Restaurant, which delivers bold modern-bistro flavours. Both occupy a former 1857 bank building.
Though an à la carte breakfast is part of your hotel stay, save space for a hot chocolate or brekky wrap at Orange Farmers Market. It sells only produce from the Central West. Pumpkins, apples, rhubarb, chestnuts and walnuts make great seasonal stock for your larder.
Get an overview of Orange by hitting the 90min heritage trail, which takes you past key historical sights and buildings. You won’t want to miss Orange Botanic Gardens and Cook Park, whose towering European trees provide an explosion of colour. Bills Beans East Orange will fuel you with coffee and a light lunch.
The outstanding Orange Regional Gallery is temporarily closed, so hit the boutiques, where you’ll find art, jewellery, leather goods, clothing and deli products handcrafted in the region. Don’t miss The Sonic for fashion and homewares. Then familiarise yourself with more local wines at Ferment, a wine centre and bar which represents 19 cellar doors and offers various tasting experiences.
Head to Charred Kitchen for a casual meal warmed by the wood-and-charcoal oven. With 400 wines on the menu, you’re spoiled for choice. Want to extend your night a little? The speakeasy-style Washington & Co offers great whiskey or bourbon in a spot that hums on the weekend.
Drive half an hour south to Millthorpe, but stop off on the way at Huntley Berry Farm to pick the last of the season’s berries to take home. After May, you’ll have to make do with jams and chutneys from the shop.
Millthorpe is a pretty, heritage-listed village lined with cottages and former hotels and banks from gold-rush days. Learn more of the story at the Golden Memories Museum. Then browse Millthorpe’s boutiques for antiques, art, curios, ceramics and homewares.
Have lunch at much-awarded Tonic Restaurant for your final taste of the region. The elegant menu showcases seasonal Central West produce such as Cowra lamb and Mandagery Creek venison. Then pop into the town-centre cellar doors of Millthorpe wineries such as Slow Wine Co and Tamburlaine, which specialises in organic wine. The cellar door of Angullong Wines is housed in a late-1800s bluestone stable.
By now it will be late afternoon, but you’ll shortly be back on the A32 that brings you east towards Sydney and home.